A nice set of strong, defined arms, and a pair of hard, bulging pecs are great to behold on any guy. Yet there are other upper body muscle groups that are equally as important, not only for an amazing physique, but for day to day activities as well. Let’s talk back.
Here are my four top weight training exercises for sculpting that classic V-shaped back.
This routine will also strengthen your back and keep it strong, limber and injury free! Try 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps and as always, adhere to proper form.
1) Bent Over Barbell Rows: Begin this multi-joint exercise standing with your feet shoulder width apart, bend at the hips so your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and grasp a barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift the weight toward your abdomen, pulling with your back muscles first, your arms second. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. Complete the rep by lowering the barbell to starting position.
2) Front Cable Pull Downs: Attach a long bar to a pull- down machine. Plant both feet flat on the floor with your knees secure under the pads (if available). Reach up and grasp the bar as wide as possible with an over hand grip. Sit and fully extend your arms. Lean slightly back, stick out your chest and keep your body still. Contract your lats as you pull the bar down to your upper chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together when the bar touches your sternum, and then slowly return to the starting position.
3) Seated Rows: Seated on the floor or on the seat of the machine, plant your feet firmly against the foot platform. Grasp the bar (preferably a small “V” shaped bar). Keep your back straight as you lean slightly back giving the arms a nice stretch. This is the starting position. Now, pull the weight back and slightly upward to your diaphragm. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement, and in a controlled fashion, return to the starting position.
4) One Arm Dumbbell Rows: With one knee on a flat bench and your upper body mostly parallel to the floor, place your same-side hand on the bench for support. Grasp a dumbbell with your working hand. Contract your lat muscle to pull the weight up to your arm pit. Squeeze your back muscles at the top and slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position. Complete a set, then repeat this procedure on the opposite side.
When working your back, or any muscle group, remember to breathe properly by inhaling during the easier part of the movement and exhaling during the more strenuous part of the movement. Start out with lighter weights and maintain good form all the time!